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Richmond Remembrance Day to be small, private ceremony closed to public

Students from South Carleton as well as members of the community have been a big part of Richmond’s Remembrance Day ceremonies. This photo is from the 2019 Richmond Remembrance Day. Organizers from the local Legion are hopeful that things can get “back to normal” by next year, as this year’s ceremony is closed to the public.
Manotick Messenger photo by Jeff Morris.

By Jeff Morris

Manotick Messenger

Remembrance Day in Richmond will be a little bit different this year.

Because of the restrictions of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the dangers associated with COVID-19, this year’s ceremony at the Richmond Cenotaph will be short, sweet and private.

This year’s service is not open to the public.

In years past, representatives from the offices of MP Pierre Poilievre, MPP Goldie Ghamari, and Councillor Scott Moffatt, along with many community organizations and businesses would have lined up to lay wreaths.

This year, only wreaths representing fallen commands, Silver Cross Mothers and Branch 625 will be placed during the short and private ceremony.

“There will only be seven of us,” said Royal Canadian Legion Richmond Branch 625 President Brian Goss. “We usually get a very strong turnout within the community, but obviously that’s not possible this year.”

While the pandemic and its restrictions have affected Legions and their programs throughout the country this year, Goss said that interest in the poppy campaign was strong and that the local schools have done outstanding work in the Legions’ poster contest.

“I’m blown away by the amount of talent at the local schools,” Goss said.

While South Carleton High School is annually strong in these categories, the school also plays a big role in Richmond’s Remembrance Day ceremony. That will not be the case this year.

“It’s always so nice to see the kids from South Carleton participating actively in our Remembrance Day service,” said Richmond Legion Brand 625 Past President Jane Louks. “It’s a shame they won’t be a part of it this year. Let’s hope by next year we can go back to having our regular Remembrance Day.”

Despite the difficult times for Legions across the country, Goss said the Richmond Legion Branch 625 has seen some growth. Goss was set up with a table near the entrance of last weekend’s Richmond Outdoor Market at the Fairgrounds.

“We are really hoping to attract a younger membership,” said Goss, who indicated that several memberships were purchased at the market. “A lot of people don’t realize that in order to become a member of the Legion, you just have to be 18 years of age and a Canadian citizen.”

Remembrance Day activities have been scaled back throughout South Carleton. North Gower and Kars held services last weekend, while the Munster service has been cancelled for 2020.